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It has been a while since customer information has been transferred from business cards into digital platforms. We all know that keeping our precious data in systems is a much safer way than writing them onto random papers and trying not to lose afterwards.
CRM is one of the processes that should not be handled in a disorganized way; it should be taken care of properly. There are convenient tools and software to do that. So the question is: can “Excel” be used as a CRM? It definitely can. Here is why. Customer relationship management system, commonly known as CRM, is the ultimate process of storing customer information in an organized way. What is Excel really good at? Storing information in an organized way. When you start using it, you know well that it is going to save you from messing around with scattered information. In this case, Excel might be a great solution for CRM needs.
Benefits of Using Excel As a CRM
Overall benefits of Excel are countless. This Microsoft Office tool always offers you something that enhances your work. Same applies to CRM. There are many reasons to adopt Excel as your CRM tool. Especially when you use it in the right way and with proper features; you benefit from Excel at the maximum level. Let’s see what you can gain by choosing to use it.
- Ease of use: Excel is an easy tool to use and has a simple interface, so it is a good place to start especially when your data is not that wide at the beginning. You go with the basic instructions and make everything done in a few clicks. Like almost any process, CRM too can be done within Excel easily.
- Affordability: Besides that it is widely-known, Excel is also budget-friendly. Compared to other tools it is cheap and that is a great advantage. It doesn’t cost you much and you can focus on managing your customer relationships instead of worrying about affording it.
- Practical features: When you need to organize certain data, Excel provides you the suitable structure and the organizing features like charts and tables. Remember why you need a digital space for CRM in the first place; to make the information as tidy as possible. Excel’s features give you what you need. Tables and charts exist within Excel to group some info and tidy them out.
- Tidiness: One of the best parts of Excel is that you can keep your data in a single spreadsheet. Reaching what you are looking for by skimming through on the sheet is better than wasting time looking around different places. Users can store their data in the same place so everything would be even more organized, which is something we want while creating CRM.
What Should Be Included When Building Your Excel Spreadsheet CRM
When you are about to build your Excel CRM, you should divide your spreadsheet into two main parts as customer data and the progress status. One includes contact details of customers and the other represents your relationships with them; like how the sales are going or what action you will take to prospect the sales. Create the main sections and then elaborate them. You can do that by opening two tabs in your worksheet, or if you use a ready template you will see that such sections are already structured.
See the Lead List Template example below. In this template, relevant CRM information is given under two parts as customer data and the progress.
Customer data is specified into three categories: General Info, Address Info and Digital Info.
Under General Info, you enter the essential information like business name, business category and contact name. Address Info includes address, country, city, state, zip, region, phone number and fax number. Digital Info on the other hand includes main email, alternative email, website and notes.
Besides entering their contact details, progress can be chosen from the dropdown menu based on whether they are already customers yet or not. It makes it easier to control the leads and take action accordingly.
You can select the situation from the progress section. This will represent how your progress with that certain customer is going. After selecting the progress, a status flag icon will be displayed in the next column.
So, you can have a similar approach while building your Excel spreadsheet for CRM. You might want to narrow contact information down and only have their name, number and email for instance. You might also add more such as LinkedIn profile, social media accounts and any other info type that you think is necessary. It takes shape depending on your business and needs. What you simply should is to include basic information about the customers, and all the actions relating your works with them.
When to Move From a Spreadsheet to CRM Software?
Excel is suitable for CRM only if you are a small business. It can help you at the beginning; storing the information of a few customers doesn’t cause much trouble for Excel. Especially if you are being careful about the budget, Excel is probably what you are looking for. But it can not be replaced with a CRM software after all, and as you start to grow it becomes insufficient. You should know when to quit and start adapting your Excel sheet into a CRM software. Let’s see the comparison of Excel vs. CRM
Limitations of Excel
Some disadvantages of Excel that users might have trouble with are:
- time wastes that are caused by entering data manually
- difficult accessibility by multiple people
- the possibility of data losses.
Too many customers and so much data may suddenly turn into a poor CRM in Excel. Therefore, the best time to move from a spreadsheet to a CRM software is when you have way more data than you can handle. Employees taking care of Excel records may leave or the number of customers may rapidly increase; so that you end up trying to organize a huge amount of untidy information. As things get large, limitations come forward.
Advantages of CRM Software
A CRM software offers an automation specified for this purpose and saves you from inserting data manually. This means time-saving and efficiency. Automation also reduces the risk of errors giving users the chance to check as well. You don’t need to worry about files to get lost since everything is saved on the cloud system. On the contrary of Excel, anyone can access the system and work together. Plus, it provides advanced reporting at the end. Having disorganized data or too many customers are no longer a challenge here.
If you have hundreds of customers and want to organize their information efficiently, then you need a CRM software. Use Excel at the beginning, keep your money in your pocket; but when the things get complicated, consider moving to a CRM software.
Free CRM Excel Templates
CRM has other dimensions besides storing basic customer information. You would want to have a schedule to plan your jobs, or track the processes and manage tasks. For such purposes, there are automated Excel tools. Ready Excel templates no doubt make users have better experiences with Excel providing practical solutions. We are about to see those solutions from the CRM point of view. Someka offers you the following templates that you can adapt to your CRM works. Different tools for different needs. You can have them all.
Lead List Template
Creating your own Excel sheet is good; however, having a tool that helps you to do everything more quickly is even better. To track your key customer data without needing to structure the categories or groups on your own, you can benefit from this Lead List Template. It is simple and macros free. So, even if you are a beginner for Excel you can comfortably use it. It will be helpful for following up customers in your CRM.
Necessary categories are already set up inside the tool and all you have to do is insert your specific data without creating anything. Categories are specified into “customer data” and “progress”. This approach leads you to know how to store your customer-related information. When you open the template, you don’t see many sections; it is simple and clear from the beginning. You are supposed to enter the customer info under the parts of general info, address info and digital info. These form the customer data section. Columns under these parts are already set so you would know what information you will insert. Then the only step left is to choose the progress status. Select the situation from that progress section then the status flag icon is shown in the next column.
Also, there is a table where progress dropdown is shown with the progress value part where you can define your progress by percentages. Based on this value, the status flag will be changed and recolored. You can always edit and change your selections; the process and the status columns will be updated accordingly. Lead List Template is a simple and effective solution to manage your customer relationships.
Kanban Board Template
As another free template by Someka, the Kanban Board Template appeals to your CRM needs with its features. Kanban is a method and scheduling system to improve work across human systems. This applies to many work consisting of human factors including CRM.
This Kanban tool allows you to manage a work process and make related analysis on them.
In the template, you will come across four main sections. Settings where you can determine your info, the database where you input tasks and stating preferences, the dashboard where you get the analysis from and the kanban where all the work is shown and could be checked if everything went alright. Dynamic charts ease your work visualizing the segments you work on and giving you the chance to refresh anytime. You also have the flexibility to add more rows or make changes. Input your data, view your progress, make arrangements if necessary and reach the output of your work. Just as you will find everything necessary for tracking a project from the very beginning, you will be able to use it on the behalf of CRM as well.
Automatic Schedule Planner
Organizing is the key element of CRM and maybe the first essential step to organizing is scheduling. It keeps us away from making things complicated. Automatic Schedule Planner by Someka is there for you, another cost-effective and practical tool. You can have it to set your plans and manage your meetings.
How you use it is quite simple. The template comes as the form of job view and the calendar. You input your plans into the job list and then see them set in the calendar. First, you need to arrange the date on the calendar. Select the month and year from the menu and all the days within that month will be readily displayed in the calendar view. Then go to the jobs view, set the date and enter your jobs in the relevant column. If there is something wrong about the date you selected, you will see a warning message in the next column such as “This date is weekend!”. After filling the jobs view section go to calendar view again to see your schedule. Every job that you assigned to the calendar will be displayed there.
So, what the template does is to calendarize your to-do jobs in an ordered way. Plus, the template is printable which means you can take it as a hard copy and have it in your hand.
These free templates all propose solutions to your needs. Each has unique and practical features you can benefit. CRM requires organization and tidiness, which are what you primarily need and would expect from a template. Stay tuned for the special CRM template!